Shallan Ramsey is a passionate and driven woman creating a new option for how menstruators manage the disposal of their menstrual items. What is often considered an inappropriate topic when discussed “outside of the bathroom,” Ramsey breaks these constructs with her company MaskIT which offers environmentally friendly and health-conscious disposal products.
One woman’s destiny to provide a functional and effective way to dispose of menstrual items while limiting excessive waste in landfills came to fruition after an intuitive moment, leading to the creation of MaskIT.
Standing in the middle of the hallway staring at an overflowing trash bin, Shallan Ramsey encountered a sudden flash of annoyance towards a total lack of menstrual item disposal options. Mother Nature’s monthly gift is hassle enough, but the strike to light the flame was the disposal process, and for Ramsey, seeing her daughters experience the same challenges as herself was her last straw.
“There’s got to be a better way not just for me, but for my daughters and for every menstruator,” Ramsey thought to herself staring at the bathroom bin. During that brief moment of frustration and realization, she came up with a genius solution to this undiscussed problem. Using GLAD Press ‘n Seal and Scotch Tape scavenged from her kitchen, she created MaskIT’s first prototype.
“I wasn’t trying to be an inventor or come up with something to do,” Ramsey expresses.“The truth is, I’m a mom, I have three daughters and we lived in a house with a septic tank. I needed a solution.” And that solution became a highly successful feminine hygiene business making the menstrual item disposal process a little more manageable, hygienic, and most importantly, eco-friendly.
Named by Axial’s Growth 100 list as one of the best and brightest CEO’s in the middle market nationwide across the industry and also awarded the 2019 “Game Changer” Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Award by Oregon Entrepreneur Network, Shallan Ramsey is a force to be reckoned with. She is the CEO, founder, and inventor of MaskIT, plant-based disposal bags offering a touch free experience, that are changing the game for the sanitary and eco-friendly disposal of menstrual items.
But what led her to create such a thriving and inspiring company wasn’t a secluded and arbitrary moment.
In her late twenties, Ramsey discovered the law of attraction, a method that became a vital aspect of who she is and where her journey has led her to today. In a state of chronic back pain as a result of a car accident when she was 17, she could no longer work like she used to or even drive her car without extreme discomfort. Normal daily life activities turned unattainable, and after a few weeks spent in the hospital, she sought a source to give her some form of hope.
Writing and manifesting her future tethered her to hope and gave her an outlet to visualize where she wanted her life to go. Without knowing it, she changed the course of her future, and in 2012, five years after one of the lowest points in her life, Ramsey stumbled upon that same journal.
A few years prior she had been diagnosed with a life of chronic pain, but at that moment in 2012, she was living as if those grueling months never existed.
“I had realized, oh my gosh, there’s something to this method,” Ramsey says. So she picked up where she left off and started ‘secretizing;’a term she developed for envisioning and projecting what she wanted in her life.
Intuition pops up when you least expect it sometimes, but when it does, it’s almost impossible to ignore. For Ramsey, staring into the bathroom at the overflowing garbage bin was her moment of intuition.
“The entrepreneurial path is not an easy one, and I’m not sure if we choose the path or the path chooses us, but I was willing to take the risk,” Ramsey shares. “I just knew that this needed to happen and I really felt like I was the one who was supposed to do it.”
Despite the daunting long road ahead, Ramsey took that leap and ‘built the plane on the way down.’ And what she discovered during her descent reinstated the importance of her invention.
Every year, approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded and end up either in landfills or the ocean, a number Ramsey had a hard time digesting and still does. The amount of waste we produce annually is astounding, and with this knowledge, she made it her mission to found her company on sustainability.
“I’m not going to do it unless I can figure out a way to do it that’s truly environmentally friendly,” Ramsey recalls saying to herself and decided to pause the formation of MaskIT all those years ago until she discovered a way.
After six months of extensive research, phone calls, and planning, she found a 100% plant-based biofilm in July of 2013, marking the official beginning of her mission to bring MaskIT to life.
Along the way, multiple people tried to tell Ramsey she was making a mistake not choosing the cheaper option for her product, plastic, but sticking with her values and intuition, she never faltered.
By the Summer of 2016, MaskIT was in 575 stores and counting, and two years later, was being adopted all over the country by airports, universities, restaurants, and more. In 2019, MaskIT sent out 25,000 student sample kits to schools across the country to further their initiatives and help young women navigate puberty.
MaskIT provides educational signage in washroom stalls to guide users on how to use their disposable bags. They also address bbp exposure risks in women’s public restrooms, which many people are unaware of.
Breaking barriers, Ramsey and her company MaskIT is paving the way for a new world, one that scraps the stigma around menstruation.
At the core of MaskIT is a deep desire to do good for people, communities, and the environment. The only company on the market addressing menstrual hygiene disposal from a women’s health standpoint, MaskIT stands alone in its industry and offers facility and at-home solutions. Learn more now by visiting their website.